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Network Rail is a Founding Partner of Shift2Rail and active in four of its five Innovation Programmes.

Shift2Rail is a European technology, research and development collaboration programme funded jointly by its members and Horizon 2020, a European Commission research fund.

It seeks to accelerate delivery of the Rail Technical Strategy by working closely with European infrastructure managers and supply chain to jointly create solutions to benefit the rail industry across Europe and to support the European Union’s vision of a Single European Rail Area.

Innovation Programmes (IPs)

The work conducted within the Shift2Rail framework is structured, first of all, around five asset-specific Innovation Programmes covering all the different structural (technical) and functional (process) subsystems of the rail system. These are supplemented by work on five Cross-Cutting Activities (CCAs), which impact across all of the IPs.

Each IP will be delivered through the completion of a number of interconnected research projects by consortia of interested organisations.

Graphic showing Innovation programmes 1 to 5 inc what they stand for and the benefits of each.

Our role

Network Rail is one of the founding partners of Shift2Rail and involved in the delivery of a number of projects across IPs 1 through 4.

We are also the Coordinator of IP3 – cost-efficient and reliable infrastructure – meaning we are responsible for the technical and organisational coordination of the activities undertaken as part of this IP.

As a founding partner, we are able to access innovations developed by every project funded as part of the Shift2Rail initiative and use them to further progress our own technologies, processes and practices that are crucial to our business performance and future capabilities.

We are currently involved in 10 live projects across 4 IPs.

Past projects


This project contributed to the aims of IP1 by developing key technologies and innovative solutions to remove pre-identified blocking points for radical innovation in the field of railway vehicles. Roll2Rail involved 31 industry partners from across Europe and had a budget of €16m.


In2Rail explored technologies that allow the integration, optimisation, sharing and exploitation of technology in infrastructure, information management, maintenance techniques, energy and engineering. 54 industry partners were involved in this project, which had a budget of €18m.

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